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Radio reporter arrested in Somalia for interviewing pro-Al-Shabab businessman

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Somalia's Intelligence and Security Agency [NISA] has arrested a local journalist, Abdullahi Kulmiye Adow for interviewing a leading pro-Al-Shabab businessman in Mogadishu on Saturday night, authorities said.

The trader, Abukar Omar Adan himself was detained by NISA the prior day, in yet another move that could help fix loopholes used by the militants in obtaining financial support from a number of sympathizers in the country, which has struggled with instability for several years.

Adan was arrested by the sleuths after he openly showed support for the Al-Shabaab in a controversial interview. The militants control large swathes of rural central and southern Somalia despite concerted effort to degrade them by the Somali National Army and other military partners.

During the controversial interview, the business mogul also opposed the presence of the African Union Mission Forces in Somalia, arguing that the troops estimated to be around 22,000, are responsible for the instability of the country. The AU Mission Forces first entered Somalia in 2008.

He was the chief financier of the union of Islamic courts fought against Ethiopian troops invaded Somalia in 2006. Ever since then, he has persistently opposed the presence of Ethiopian and other African Union Mission Forces in Somalia, arguing that they have meted violence on innocent people in the country.

It's not clear what NISA will do over his remarks but he's likely to be arraigned before a military court which is responsible for prosecuting such allegations. The military court under Hassan Nor has been praised for helping the country prosecute high profile cases especially those linked to Al-Shabaab.

The spy agency under Fahad Yasin has often linked a number of businessmen and organizations to the financing Al-Shabaab, but only a few have been arrested and prosecuted. The group is believed to be widely connected and gets financial support even from foreign elements opposing the government of Somalia.

Al-Shabaab has continued to target civilians, military officers, and high ranking government officials in the country, with the latest attack coming in Afgoye, 30 kilometers West of Mogadishu. The Wednesday attack left close to 18 soldiers dead but the government also reported the killing of 61 militants.

The AU forces, Somali National Army, and the US Africa Command have intensified onslaught against the Al-Shabaab across the country with the hope of completely crushing the group. However, AFRICOM still maintains that the group is "still dangerous" given the ability to wage small to large scale sporadic attacks.